Mobile body area network (MBAN) technology has the potential to be a boon to the healthcare system of the future by enabling remote patient monitoring through disposable wireless devices -- meaning fewer doctor visits for everyone and great news for latrophobes. Until now, MBAN was opposed by the Aerospace & Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC) because it utilizes the same radio bands that aircraft manufacturers do when they're testing new planes. AFTRCC didn't want all that medical chatter "polluting their spectrum" but decided to get on board with MBAN when the health care industry promised to create a way to stop signals that disrupt aeronautical traffic. MBAN is a part of the FCC's National Broadband Plan
and purports to use short-length radio waves (not unlike Bluetooth
) in the 2300 and 2400 MHz range to transmit physiological info to treating physicians -- as opposed to other patient monitors that use web-based communications
. MBAN would initially be used in hospitals but could later find its way into residential use by employing home entertainment systems (Wii Fit
integration, here we come!) to collect and transmit data. With the FCC expected to decide on the final rules for MBAN later this year, the Intel Health Guide
may have some company in the at-home patient monitoring business. We can only hope that the next time the aeronautic and health care industries combine forces, it will take the form of jetpack-wearing doctors making house calls.